Glennera Martin, first elected to the Bulloch County Board of Education from District 5 in 2014, offers constituents her 44 years of diverse experience in education and volunteer work. She is also president-elect of the Bulloch County Retired Educators Association.
Martin faces a challenge for the District 5 BOE seat from Shontelle Childress. A profile of Childress appeared in Thursday’s edition and remains available at www.statesboroherald.com. The district’s voters are deciding this nonpartisan race in the May 24 election, for which early voting continues Saturday, May 14, and Monday-Friday, May 16-20.
Those 44 years’ experiences include teaching, educational administration, working with parents, and “volunteering in the community through tutoring, mentoring and working with parents,” Martin said, and noted that she has also served as a professional consultant in education.
“The recent accreditation of the school system reflects that our present status is above the national average,” she wrote in answer to why she wants to continue to serve. “As an incumbent, my goal is to promote and support this status of excellence.”
All BOE candidates were contacted first and then provided a list of questions. The questionnaire for incumbents suggested that they might mention accomplishments from their time on the board.
Herald: What are your biggest concerns for the Bulloch County Schools, their students (and parents), teachers and staff?
Martin: “My biggest concern of the Bulloch County School System focuses on whether we will have the necessary resources and support to maintain the current above national average status. This concern involves collaborative efforts including students, school personnel, parents and stakeholders.”
Herald: What changes or improvements would you like to see made in the schools? What would you like to see continued? (What have you and the board accomplished during your years of service so far?)
Martin: “The first change focuses on reducing the amount of time involved in professional meetings of teachers, thereby providing additional time for academic instruction of students. Another change involves additional recognition of certified and non-certified personnel for exceptional service and performance.
“The mission, culture, instructional program of activities and other components which afforded the school system to earn above national average status should be continued and supported by the Board of Education.”
She provided a list of 17 “board accomplishments.”
The first was the recently completed accreditation on which she based her statements that the Bulloch County Schools are an “above national average” school system. This was a reaccreditation by Cognia, which is one of two nonprofit organizations approved by the state to accredit Georgia public schools and also accredits schools in many other states.
Cognia gave the Bulloch County Schools an overall rating higher than the national average.
The second accomplishment she listed is the fact that school employees will be provided a $20,000 life insurance policy.
The third is the hiring of six instructional coaches to help teachers improve student performance and six climate coaches to help address behavioral problems.
Also included on her list are the $2-an-hour raise for non-certified school employees in the 2022-2023 budget, the new athletic complexes being completed at two middle schools at a cost of $5.25 million and the plan to build a new Southeast Bulloch High School.
Herald: How would you balance the interests of taxpayers with the needs of students and school employees?
Martin: “Taxpayers need to be assured that they are receiving the utmost value of their tax dollars. This will be evident with the high quality of graduates who are accepted in post-secondary educational programs, including college and military service. This will include the preparation for the world of workers as well.”
“A proud 1961 graduate” of William James High School in Statesboro, Martin went to Savannah State College, now University, as a Regents Scholar majoring in elementary education and graduated with honors in 1965. She obtained a degree in reading education from the University of Georgia four years later, as well as a sixth-year certificate in administration and supervision. She did additional coursework at Georgia Southern.
Martin started her teaching career at Mary Jackson Elementary School in Nevils in March-May 1965, then taught at an elementary school in Chatham County, 1965-1970. She was a First District RESA coordinator for five years and then worked in the Burke County school system in Waynesboro, 1975-2009, in a list of roles, among them curriculum director, special education director, Title I director, test coordinator and after-school coordinator.
Her volunteer work has included serving as a Girl Scout leader in both Burke and Bulloch counties, Willow Hill Heritage & Renaissance Center spelling bee coordinator, and the first Bulloch County NAACP youth coordinator, as well as tutoring and mentoring in the schools, and other roles.
She presently serves on the Savannah State University Foundation and the Boggs Rural Life Center Foundation boards, besides being 2022-2023 Bulloch County Retired Educators Association president-elect.
Martin has served in many roles at Greater Bethel AME Church and was recently appointed 6th Episcopal District school superintendent for 2022-2023 and also as Christian education director for the district.
Three of the numerous awards she has received are the African Methodist Episcopal Church Living Legacy Award, a Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award and a Bulloch County NAACP Achievement Award.
Martin has no biological children, but she has mentored two nephews, two nieces and four God daughters whose educational and professional attainments she proudly notes.